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Do Them a Favor and Close

Two salesmen come back to the office after a day of selling and one salesman says to the other, “Boy, did I have a lot of good interviews today,” and the other salesman replies, “Yeah, I didn't sell anything either.” You can give the best tour, but if you don't close the sale, you're out of business.

Have you ever had prospective members come into your health club, leave without joining, but you know they'll be back? Frustrating when they don't come back, isn't it? It's even worse when you call them back and they give you some lame excuse for not wanting to join right now. What you need to do to avoid getting completely demoralized is to first learn from the experience and second, the next time a similar situation presents itself, be more adamant about enrolling prospective members the day they come into the club.


The most important thing your staff can do is to maintain the attitude that they'll attempt to enroll prospective members when they first come into the club. The longer they wait to join, the longer they'll be missing out on all the health and fitness benefits the club has to offer them.

The first thing we have to understand about closing sales and enrolling prospective members is that there's no reason for your staff not to enroll people the first time they come into the club. Most of them came into the club for a specific reason: to get into shape. The longer they wait to get started, the more out of shape they'll become. You're staff is doing them a grave disservice by letting them leave without joining because when they do, they deprive them of all the health and fitness benefits they'll enjoy as a result of joining your club.

If I showed you the health benefits of regular exercise as outlined in the Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health, I guarantee that we wouldn't let people leave the club without joining. The benefits of regular exercise are so numerous that it doesn't make any sense for people to put off joining. The essence of the report is that not exercising regularly, or remaining inactive, is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. I'll ask my prospective members if they smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and most of them will say no. Then I tell them that if they leave the club without joining, their health can be compared to that of people who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. Then I'll reinforce it with a benefit statement such as: “Men and women who are fit are eight times less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who are not”


To be really effective at enrolling prospective members, your sales staff needs to maintain the mind set that the people they're trying to enroll will be far better off by joining. When I've qualified prospective members who have a strong desire to get in shape, I'll flat out tell them I'm not letting them leave without joining. It sounds high-pressure, but here's how it works. You've identified your prospective members' fitness goals and they've indicated that they want to accomplish them as soon as possible. Then say to them, “If I let you leave here today without joining, I'm doing you a grave disservice because you'll lose out on all the health and fitness benefits you'd otherwise enjoy by joining our club today.” Then close by saying, “You've never been closer than you are right now to getting started on a regular exercise program; let's get you started, fair enough?”

If staffers don't believe in the product strongly enough to want people to join, they're in the wrong business.

Jim Collins provides proven sales systems to health clubs. He can be reached at or at 561-741-7676.

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